Sebelius has nothing but sneers for Republican's "gift"
November 2nd, 2013
05:08 PM ET
9 years ago

Sebelius has nothing but sneers for Republican's "gift"

(CNN) - Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was already having a rough week when she was presented with an unwelcome gift at an event in Memphis on Friday.

After being grilled on Capitol Hill and receiving subpoenas from one congressional committee, Sebelius was wrapping up her week at an outreach event when Tennessee state Sen. Brian Kelsey approached her with a copy of the book "Web Sites for Dummies," according to Memphis' The Daily News, which captured the moment on camera.

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In the picture posted on The Daily News' website, Sebelius holds the book out with what seems to be an irritated expression.

Kelsey, a Republican, later tweeted, "Just presented Sec Sebelius with 'Websites for Dummies,'" and then, "The book is simply a reminder to Sec. #Sebelius of my message to her that Tennessee does NOT want Medicaid expansion."

The secretary's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Sebelius was in Tennessee to promote the Affordable Care Act and explain how her department is working to fix the botched insurance exchange website,

"Clearly we did not do enough end-to-end testing," admitted Sebelius, though she defended the market itself, saying, "The market is ready. We have competitive plans in every market in this country."

"We have brought in a lot of technology experts to help make sure that we have all the eyes and ears on the problems and the puzzle, “Sebelius added.

On Wednesday, Sebelius apologized for the flawed website when she testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. President Obama has thus far resisted calls from congressional Republicans to fire Sebelius.

Filed under: Kathleen Sebelius • Obamacare • Tennessee
soundoff (157 Responses)
  1. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Stay classy pubs...

    November 2, 2013 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  2. Evergreen

    What a classy guy. Bet he practised his big moment in front of a mirror for hours. This endless dog and pony show by members of the GOP must stop....for the good of the country and their party.

    November 2, 2013 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  3. longfisch

    I am unimpressed with how Sebelius has handled the implementation of the website, but this only makes Kelsey look bad, give her the book if that is what you want to do to make your point, but sending out the tweet turned your message into a childish rant.

    November 2, 2013 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    OMG you got to love it. Well done Sen. Brian Kelsey. Maybe that idiot Sebelius will learn something. Democrats who needs them.

    November 2, 2013 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  5. Scott

    OMG you got to love it. Well done Sen. Brian Kelsey. Maybe that idiot Sebelius will learn something. Democrats who needs them.

    November 2, 2013 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  6. Thomas

    Tennessee state Sen. Brian Kelsey supported Rick Perry for Republican primary of the presidential election of 2012

    " TeaParty for Dummies "

    November 2, 2013 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  7. frustrated voter

    Mr. Kelsey, maybe you should read "legislating for dummies"...or maybe look at the book "how to work together for dummies". You may even consider the book "you are all a bunch of dummies".

    November 2, 2013 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  8. Woman In California

    Tennessee state Sen. Brian Kelsey approached her with a copy of the book "Web Sites for Dummies,"

    Does this remind you of the "you lie" shouted at the president? T-Publicans are nothing more than a low-class group of un-Americans growing in unpopularity and ignorance. As I've said before, they're too lazy to do anything other than attack, attack, attack. Here's yet another example.

    November 2, 2013 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  9. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    I hope the President and the Secretary stand their ground and do not fold. The GOP are like zombies who know nothing but destruction. They will be gone soon, very soon!

    November 2, 2013 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  10. freedom

    All of Obama's operatives are puppets, empty suits, cowards, spineless, unethical, and liars – and that includes the president – he's the one calling the shots.

    November 3, 2013 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  11. rtkmd

    Everybody is a comedian. But very few are funny.

    November 3, 2013 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  12. HenryMiller

    Too bad they don't publish Being President for Dummies and Telling the Truth for Dummies

    November 3, 2013 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  13. Kris Jackson

    I've been involved with the launch of about a dozen web sites, in various capacities. They've never gone well at first - none of them ever seem to. That said, the launch of is a disgrace. It should have been better out of the box. That said, I strongly support the health care reform. I hope them jerks can fix it.

    November 3, 2013 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  14. J.V.Hodgson

    Pathetic and disgusting showmanship. or the more correct analysis that there is not a single republican rep or senator who has any intention of letting PPACA go into effect even though they know legislatively they cannot stop it while president Obama remains in the White house. It will with whatever difficulties go into effect early next year and for two years many will start to see significant benefits
    Time for elected odfficials to do wjat they are supposed to do try to make It better not destroy it.

    November 3, 2013 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  15. ThinkAgain: The GOP owes our nation $24 billion

    Really? And repubs wonder why so many people think they are nothing more than POS (with apologies to dung everywhere).

    November 3, 2013 01:57 am at 1:57 am |
  16. ThinkAgain: The GOP owes our nation $24 billion

    Wow, the uninsured, low-income people of Tennessee don't want health coverage? They like it when they get sick and end up costing the state much more or die or go through what little savings they may have?

    November 3, 2013 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  17. ThinkAgain: The GOP owes our nation $24 billion

    Repubs are the Beevus and Butthead of politics.

    November 3, 2013 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  18. ThinkAgain: The GOP owes our nation $24 billion

    And the next time President Obama doesn't cave to the repubs' threats, they'll accuse him of not "reaching across the isle" and being a "dictator."

    November 3, 2013 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  19. Jessica (from TN)

    Brian Kelsey does not speak for me.

    Medicaid expansion (which has nothing to do with the implementation of the website, I'd like to add, making his 'gift' seem extremely stupid) isn't designed to force anyone to do anything. For those of us working more than forty hours a week who fall between the income requirements for the ACA subsidies and yet make too much to get Medicare, the expansion which was suggested by the administration (and forced on no one) would help us out financially.

    I'm a single woman with no children who works at a (wonderful) job 40+ hours a week. I am barely scraping by, trying to survive on my own, with no family. I'm unwilling to rush into a marriage for financial benefits. I may not have cancer, or AIDs, or any other horrible illness, but what's to stop something from popping up next week? What's to stop me from developing breast cancer? What's to stop me from getting ovarian cancer (which DOES run in my family)?

    I'm 27, live alone in a small place with no pets or children or family and work hard to make ends meet- does that mean I shouldn't have access to health care? I don't have a car note, I don't have fancy clothing, I hardly have enough to feed myself, and often shop at Goodwill- there's absolutely no 'living beyond your means' going on in my household, and yet I can't afford to see a doctor once a year to make sure that cancer won't be an issue!

    Medicare expansion was exactly designed to help people specifically like me, who work long enough and hard enough to deserve standing in the middle class, but somehow can't seem to break it into the middle of the pack. I'm not looking for a hand out. I'm looking for help. Clearly there are cracks in our society if a woman can work a full-time job and be incapable of supporting herself.

    Brian Kelsey may speak for himself, but he doesn't speak for me.

    November 3, 2013 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  20. Gwiz

    He should be thrown out of office for a retarded prank

    November 3, 2013 02:54 am at 2:54 am |
  21. Anonymous

    getting ridiculous.

    November 3, 2013 05:50 am at 5:50 am |
  22. A True Conservative

    Well played Sir, well played. Now if she can just find someone to read it to her.

    November 3, 2013 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
  23. jiminfl

    people need health care in tenn. do nothing senator makes joke . sad

    November 3, 2013 06:41 am at 6:41 am |
  24. Richard

    The fall guy (gal) for the idiot BHO !

    November 3, 2013 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  25. king

    these repubs who shut down our government and almost defaulted on our loans, which cost this country 24 billion dollars with a B, are quarreling about a website which will cost a couple hundred million dollars with a m, which will serve 50 million Americans. does these folks really think Americans are that stupid not to tell the difference between 24 billion dollars that the tax payers got nothing in return, compared to a few millions, which at least a few hundred thousand people are befitting as we speak. i know their hardened right flank will believe that but come on folks. obamacare is the new industrial revolution, and i know that special interest are pouring million of dollars into the repubs coffers to kill this law, so they dont have to spend 80 percent of their profits, taking care of Americans. this law is one of the main job creators this country have right now. if we should lose this law, we will be revisiting the exodus of businesses to other countries, because there wont be a great investment draw to our shores anymore.

    November 3, 2013 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
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